Impact investing is becoming more and more of a focus for real estate companies. Some are at the planning stage, others at the implementation phase. SEGRO, the UK REIT listed on the London Stock Exchange and Euronext, is launching its first round of community investment plans.
The plans, which will cover areas in the UK like Slough, Greater London and the Midlands as well as locations in France, Poland and Germany, aim to boost skills, training and employment for tens of thousands of people and also to protect the local environment and encourage iodiversity in the communities where it operates.
“We aim to be a force for societal and environmental good, particularly across the communities where we operate,” said David Sleath, CEO, SEGRO. “We believe we can achieve this by delivering bespoke, local, on-the-ground support to improve the lives of those most in need.”
The tailored community investment plans are part of the company’s Responsible SEGRO framework, which commits to creating and implementing programmes in all of its key markets by 2025. The three core objectives are helping young and disadvantaged people find employment; supporting the growth of local economies; and championing low-carbon growth, delivering projects that enhance biodiversity and the local environment.
Plans delivered in conjunction with local partners
The plans will be driven by SEGRO employees and delivered with the help of local partners such as Groundwork, a charity mobilising practical community action on poverty and the environment across the UK, and the Shaw Trust, a social purpose organisation focused on breaking down barriers to enable social mobility.
“We have established relationships with a range of partners who have knowledge and insight of the most pressing local challenges and the reach to help us deliver a structured and measurable programme, which we believe will make a real and positive difference,” said Sleath.
Groundwork’s partnership with SEGRO, for example, will focus on delivering a skills programme which will support routes into employment through practical real-life experience working on local green space projects. The six-week programme will be targeted at the long-term unemployed, unskilled or low-skilled workers or those who are below the poverty line.
“Together with SEGRO we will be able to give young people the skills they need to be at the forefront of a green economy, by supporting them to access jobs that improve the local environment and protect biodiversity”, said Sarah Reece-Mills, partnerships and programmes director, Groundwork UK.
The Shaw Trust’s partnership with SEGRO and the businesses in its supply chain seeks to maximise employment opportunities for local people, providing pre-interview support, qualifications and training, apprenticeships and recruitment advice for employers.
The three targets for the first round of SEGRO’s community investment plans, to be achieved over a ten-year period, are: engaging and inspiring 50,000 students to fulfil their potential through the Work and STEM schools programme; helping 15,000 people to benefit from skills, training and job brokerage programmes; delivering 300 initiatives to improve the environment and health and wellbeing of the local community.